City of Little Rock adds another blue sticker to River Market Hall, angering restaurant owners

Another blue sticker, identical to one that caused an uproar last year, has given business owners even more to be upset about.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — Some restaurant owners in the River Market Hall are becoming increasingly upset with city officials over a blue sticker that covers the window just outside their businesses.

A few weeks ago, THV11 told you this story about the blue sticker. Now, the city has added the same sticker to the other side of the building earlier this month, angering owners even more.

"Their focus is this: 'Let's cover up the hall. Let's deter customer from coming in,'” Omar Kassees said.

Kassees has owned the burger restaurant, Masons Grill inside the River Market Hall, for 10 years. He said his business has been struggling since the city added the blue sticker in the summer of 2016.

“My accountant said it was 50 to 60 percent loss,” he said. “People don’t know we're in here. Even locals are unaware of what’s in this building and that was shocking.”

Kassees said owners inside just want to be able to put up their own signs to have some kind of representation.

“Everyone's complaining their business has been affected. I have all their signatures opposing this. And no one wants it,” he said.

The city added blade signs above the sidewalk in December that have the names of all the restaurants inside.

Kassees said this does not help much because the sign is above the sidewalk and hard to see.

Director of the River Market Hall Diana Long said the signs and the blue sticker give the building a more uniform look.

"So, as somebody's driving down the street or walking down the street, they can still see the names actually more consistently,” Long said.

She said the blue sticker is meant to cover up kitchen equipment from the street.

“It was very much a hodge podge, just didn’t look very inviting,” Long said. “It just did not look inviting at all to look at the backside of the grill.”

She said city ordinance allows 25 percent of the window to be covered. The blue sticker covers 25 percent, so she said there is no room for the vendors to add their own signage or decals.

“A few venders had elected to put signage but not all the venders had any interest in doing that, so it was very mismatched looking. So the city got together with some neighborhood folks and came up with this design,” Long said.

Kassees said disguising the equipment from the street is only hurting his business.

"I don't think the city cares at all. We've reached out to numerous city of directors and officials and no one cares. No one is reaching out,” he said.

THV11 spoke to other business owners inside the hall who did not want to go on camera and they said they would like to have their own signs, but because of city ordinance codes, they cannot.

Long said the river market has no plans to take the sticker down.

© 2018 KTHV-TV


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